Mandelgrenpriset 2021 / The Mandelgren prize 2021

Som många av er kanske redan känner till så har vi ända sedan starten av vår blogg älskat och återskapat några av de medeltida guldskinnsbroderierna. Vi har drivits av en önskan att förstå användandet av broderiernas funktion, en nyfikenhet på hur de tillverkats, en längtan efter att skapa tillsammans med vänner och en önskan att få se broderierna hur originalen kunde sett ut då de var i sin guldglänsande prakt.

Vi har analyserat alla broderier som finns i samlingen hos Statens Historiska museum, Ilsbotäcket hos Hälsinglands museum och Maskutäcket hos Nationalmuseum i Finland. Kvar på listan finns ett broderi som idag tillhör The Metropolitan museum i New York.

Svenska Fornminnesföreningen delar ut Mandelgrenpriset.
“Mandelgrenpriset ska minna om konstnären och folklivsforskaren Nils Månsson Mandelgrens (1813–1899) banbrytande dokumentation av historiska och arkeologiska bilder, föremål och miljöer, häpnadsväckande i kvalité och omfattning. Nils Månsson Mandelgren hade ett brinnande intresse för kulturhistoria men även för sin samtid och reste över hela Sverige för att dokumentera konst, miljöer, människor, och arkeologiska artefakter. Priset till hans minne tillkom på initiativ av docenten i konstvetenskap Lennart Karlsson (1933-2014) som under tjugo år arbetade på Statens historiska museum som specialist med särskilt intresse för medeltida konst. Priset delas ut årligen sedan 2016. Svenska Fornminnesföreningens styrelse beslutar vem som skall få priset.”

Här kan ni läsa Svenska fornminnesföreningens motivering till varför de valt att ge 2021 års pris till oss.

Vi är, som ni kanske redan förstått, otroligt smickrade och glada över den oerhört fina utmärkelsen. Vi vill rikta ett stort tack till Svenska fornminnesföreningen. Det är en ära att få tillhöra den framstående skara av tidigare pristagare till Mandelgrenpriset.
Vi vill också tacka alla som varit med och broderat och hjälpt till med rekonstruktionerna av broderierna. Utan er hade det inte varit möjligt!

Vad skall vi göra med prispengarna? Då det återigen går att resa, skall vi självklart resa till New York och analysera det återstående broderiet.
Och så skall vi fira ihop med alla som deltagit i rekonstruktionsarbetena.
/ Amica och Maria

As many of you may already know, we have loved and recreated some of the medieval gilt leather embroideries since the start of our blog. We have been driven by a desire to understand the use of the embroidery’s function, a curiosity about how they are made, a desire to create with friends and a wish to see the embroideries look like the originals could have looked like when they were in their golden splendor. 

We have analyzed all the embroideries in the collection at the Statens Historiska museum, Ilsbo coverlet at Hälsinglands museum and Masku coverlet at the National Museum in Finland. Remaining on the list is an embroidery that today belongs to The Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Svenska Fornminnesföreningen (The Swedish Antiquities Association) awards the Mandelgren Prize. “The Mandelgren Prize should be reminiscent of the artist and folklore researcher Nils Månsson Mandelgren’s (1813–1899) pioneering documentation of historical and archaeological images, objects and environments, astonishing in quality and scope. Nils Månsson Mandelgren had a burning interest in cultural history but also in his time and travel all over Sweden to document art, environments, people, and archeological artifacts. The prize has been awarded annually since 2016. The Swedish Antiquities Association’s board decides who will receive the prize. “

Here is a translation of the motivation.
“The Mandelgren Prize in 2021 is awarded to county handicraft consultant Maria Neijman and first antiquarian Amica Sundström for their work in deepening and broadening knowledge about medieval picture and pattern worlds and medieval gilded leather coverlets through documentation and reconstructions. The prize money is SEK 100,000.

Through extensive collection of examples and material and technical analyzes, an understanding is created which is then translated into craftsmanship according to medieval traditions and principles. By reconstructing the coverlets, new knowledge is generated about the material’s functions and limitations, but also insights into what was possible to achieve in terms of craftsmanship during the coverlets time of creation.

Maria Neijman and Amica Sundström have, among other things, within their company Historical Textiles inventoried the gilded leather coverlets inside and outside Sweden and reached new and exciting scientific findings on how the coverlets were used and in many cases also reused.

In collaboration with craft associations and other interested parties, they have recreated both well-known and lesser-known textiles from the Middle Ages, disseminated knowledge about older craft techniques, and produced reconstructions for exhibitions.

With the Mandelgren Prize, the Swedish Antiquities Association wants to draw attention to Maria Neijman and Amica Sundström for their solid historical and material knowledge, for their competence and the high ambition in documentation work, and for their genuine desire to spread knowledge about visual worlds, objects and crafts.”

We are, as you may have already understood, incredibly flattered and happy about the extremely fine award. We would like to thank the Swedish Antiquities Association. It is an honor to belong to the prominent crowd of previous winners of the Mandelgren Prize. We would also like to thank everyone who has been involved in embroidering and helping with the reconstructions of the embroideries. Without you it would not have been possible! 

What are we going to do with the prize money? When it is possible to travel again, we will of course travel to New York and analyze the remaining embroidery. And we will celebrate together with everyone who has participated in the reconstruction work. 
/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 24 2020

Today we celebrate Christmas in Sweden. We call it Jul. A name that originate from the tradition we celebrated before people up in the north became Christians.

Therefor we would like to share some Viking age things.

Wool combs from Norway. Dated 800-950. For combing wool.

God Jul! /Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 23 2020

Today we go Royal with a linen collar with some amazing bobin laces.
The owner was King Gustav II Adolf/ Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, He reigned over Sweden between 1611-1632. He was shot and died the 6th of November 1632 in Lützen during the 30 year war.

The collar is made out of a very thin and evenly woven plain linen weave. The stitching is to die for!!!
The bobin lace is also made out of linen thread, two plied.

Today the collar is in the collection of The Royal Armoury, Stockholm.
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 22 2020

Fulled fabrics. The fabrics during the Middle Ages were often fulled. When fabrics from that time is found in the ground, the majority of the nap is often gone. That means the fabrics that we find give a different surface then the fabric originally had. Also fabrics other than archaeological, may have lost a lot of its fulled surface. Here we can see some evidence of that.

The examples are both from gilded leather coverlets, where the gilded strip ( or a twisted linen strip) has fallen off and exposes a fabric that has significantly more nap than the rest of the fabric.
Both fabrics are dated to 15th or 16th century.

The first fabric is from the Ilsbo embroidery. Now in Hälsinglands museums collections.

The second fabric is from Dalhem II embroidery. Enlarge photo to get a even better view of the nap. Now in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.

/ Amica & Maria

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Advent calendar December 21 2020

Today we would like to raise the idea of a perfect result. That seems to be a fairly modern approach. We see repeatedly during our analyses that the perfect result is a non existing thing during the Middle Ages. This embroidery from Ärentuna is a good example of that.

Check out the blue square with the yellow pattern in. During the sewing someone ran out of yellow yarn. And continued with a light orange yarn instead. That someone, was also a bit unfocused and turned one of the wings of the pattern upside down.

Misstakes happens all the time when people are doing crafts. But during the Middle Ages people seemed less interested in fixing them. We find this very heartwarming and would like to strike a blow for not correcting things too often. It’s a bit like live TV. Don’t mention it, then the audience will notice it, just move on and everything will be just fine.

The embroidery is dated 14-15th century.
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 20 2020

Today we return to the Grödinge double weave.
But today we focus on the animals of the middle section. We got lions, eagles and the animal combined by the two, griffins. At first sight all animals looks the same, but at a closer look, all the animals have some small individual parts. That menas that the pattern have been picked by hand during the weaving.

The weave is made out of white and dark blue wool and is dated to the 15th century.

Today the double weave can be found in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 19 2020

Today we go early 19th century with an empire dress from the house hold after Carl von Linné. The famous Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the “father of modern taxonomy”.

The dress is made in a lovely thin checked silk fabric and have a blue linen lining in the bodice.

Today in the collections of Linnaeus Museum in Uppsala, Sweden.

/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 18 2020

Today we have some items from the world famous Oseberg ship burial. Viking age. Norway.

The excavation is exceptional in many ways. It’s a woman’s grave and it contains a lot of items that she might need in her afterlife. Amongst some of the things a lot of textile tools.

Niddy noddy
Distaff and spindle sticks and whorl
Tablets for tablet weaving

Today in the collections of Vikingskipshuset, Olso.

/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 17 2020

Today we will show something rare. A undershirt for a solider in Hälsinge regiment anno 1757. This shirt was sewn as a model copy for the regiment.
It is one of few surviving examples in the world.

The shirt is sewn in hand woven linen. A very coarse fabric. Very fabric efficient model. Not much have happend since the shirts from the Middle Ages.

Today this shirt can be found in the collections of the Swedish Army museum.
/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 16 2020

Down. A material that we know was used a lot during the Middle Ages.
Not very many down filled items are still around. But luckily we have a few cushions in Sweden, still filled with down. Or at least what we believe is down. They have not been opened… yet.

The weight and the fluffiness feels like down. And sometimes even a small down find it’s way out though the cushion fabric. As in this case with the lovely gilded leather embroidery cushion from Aspö church.

Dated to late 15th century. Possibly also early 16th century.
Now in the collections of The Swedish History museum.

/ Amica & Maria
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